The Animals' Christmas Eve

      Truth be told, most people don't read a whole lot of books anymore. Some people argue that it's because we live in an age of instant gratification; technology such as microwaves, instant messaging, and TiVo allow us to fulfill our desires more quickly than our grandparents ever dreamed possible. These people would argue that modern conveniences such as these have made us lazy and stripped us of our imagination. Maybe these people are right, but I think it's deeper than that. I think perhaps the real reason that Americans don't like to read is because we have a national academic system that forces our children to read books like Black Boy and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Once you've been forced to read and analyze crap like that, your enthusiasm for reading is sure to drop off. If there was a little more on Robert Cormier on your average high school English curriculum and a lot less Nathaniel Hawthorne, perhaps our schools could engender an interest in books rather than endanger it. Unfortunately, that will probably never be the case.

      Or maybe the problem starts earlier than that. Maybe it starts with children's books. Maybe it starts when your parents read you awful fucking shit like Are You My Mother? and Everybody Poops. Children's books on the whole tend to be relentlessly horrible pieces of literature. Every once in a while you get something brilliant like Goodnight Moon, Green Eggs and Ham, or Animalia, but for each one of these books there are at least fifty shitty books that a kid could end up with instead. And the worst of the worst are Little Golden Books. Golden Books are to children's books what supermarket romance novels are to Hunter S. Thompson books. And to prove this point, I would like to share with you one of the worst books that I have ever had the displeasure of owning: The Animals' Christmas Eve. This book originally had a suggested retail price of 89 cents. But as you'll soon find discover, that's at least 72 cents too much.